Romney once again claimed that his economic plan would produce 12 million jobs. This sounds like a pretty bold statement, especially considering that only two presidents — Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton — created more than 12 million jobs. Romney, in fact, says he can reach this same goal, in just four years, though the policy paper issued by his campaign contains few details. It is mostly a collection of policy assertions, such as reducing debt, overhauling the tax code, fostering free trade and so forth.
But, in fact, the number is even less impressive than it sounds. This pledge amounts to an average of 250,000 jobs a month, a far cry from the 500,000 jobs a month that Romney once claimed would be created in a “normal recovery.” In recent months, the economy has averaged about 150,000 jobs a month.
The Congressional Budget Office is required to consider the effects of the so-called “fiscal cliff” if a year-end budget deal is not reached, which many experts believe would push the country into a recession. But even with that caveat, the nonpartisan agency assumes 9.06 million jobs will be created between 2013 and 2017. (This is a revision downward; CBO had estimated 11 million in January.)
But Moody’s Analytics, in an August forecast, predicts 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, no matter who is president. And Macroeconomic Advisors in April also predicted a gain of 12.3 million jobs. In other words, this is a fairly safe bet by Romney, even if he has a somewhat fuzzy plan for action. We have often noted that presidents are often at the mercy — or are the beneficiary — of broad economic trends, and Romney’s pledge appears to be an effort to take advantage of that.
Moreover, the Fact Checker column this week gave Romney Four Pinocchios for an television ad that incorrectly jumbles together a bunch of studies to achieve that 12 million figure.